The Scandalous Exclusion of Howie Hawkins
There are few better examples of the corporate freeze-out of the public than the Senate race in New York. The candidates are: Hillary Clinton (D), John Spencer (R) and though you wouldn't know it, Howie Hawkins (G). Hawkins is running on an anti-war position, was endorsed by anti-war candidate Jonathan Tasini as well as by Cindy Sheehan, but because Hillary Clinton refused to debate him, and because the mainstream anti-war voices have not covered or endorsed his campaign, despite his meeting all the League of Women Voters' standards for legitimate candidacy(including fundraising and poll numbers), he has received no media attention. In the progressive blogosphere, as represented by the Dailykos, his name appears only once in a diary.
Those who listen to Pacifica radio's "Democracy Now" probably know that the League of Women Voters have withdrawn their approval not only from the debates between Clinton and Spencer, but from a number of debates because of Democratic candidates refusal to appear in debates with third party anti-war candidates.
After reading just a few stories based on "man on the street" feeling about the voters who may turn out again this time around because of their disgust about the war, I'm sure that if some of those New Yorkers knew Hawkins was running, or what he stood for, they would vote for him rather than Hillary C.
New York Newsday puts it like this :
People don't turn out only for cliffhangers," said Miringoff. "They show up when they have something to say or to send a message. For Democrats in New York, it's send a message to George Bush about Iraq and they'll use the congressional races to do that.
But what message are voters who vote for Hillary Clinton sending about Iraq?
Maybe it's to "stay the course" after all, and it doesn't send a good message to the dems about 2008. I think she should be punished at the polls for the greater good, and here's why:
In 2002, Hillary Clinton, made this speech explaining why she would support Bush's resolution to use force in Iraq:
I will take the President at his word that he will try hard to pass a UN resolution and will seek to avoid war, if at all possible. Because bipartisan support for this resolution makes success in the United Nations more likely, and therefore, war less likely, and because a good faith effort by the United States, even if it fails, will bring more allies and legitimacy to our cause, I have concluded, after careful and serious consideration, that a vote for the resolution best serves the security of our nation. If we were to defeat this resolution or pass it with only a few Democrats, I am concerned that those who want to pretend this problem will go way with delay will oppose any UN resolution calling for unrestricted inspections. This is a very difficult vote. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make -- any vote that may lead to war should be hard -- but I cast it with conviction.
In late 2005, Clinton was critical of the president and presented herself, as well as other members of congress, as being "duped" into voting for war based on faulty intelligence - despite the fact that anyone with a brain was already saying in 2002 that the Bushies were not to be trusted. However, her argument was still for war:
"It is time for the President to stop serving up platitudes and present us with a plan for finishing this war with success and honor," she said,
– not a rigid timetable that terrorists can exploit, but a public plan for winning and concluding the war. And it is past time for the President, Vice President, or anyone else associated with them to stop impugning the patriotism of their critics.
In her other, more recent positions, Clinton continues to triangulate. Like John Kerry, who blew the 2004 election because he refused to take an anti-war position, she is critical of the management of the war "on the cheap," but doesn't call for withdrawl of troops. In fact, the Democratic plan for Phased redeployment that Clinton and other milque-toast dems support does not include a meaningful time-table for withdrawl, and because it suggests little more than the "Vietnamization" strategy that Bush seems already to have put forth, does not inspire confidence in the Dems' will to truly "change course" in Iraq.
As Norm Solomon reminds us:
Tactical critiques of war management are standard ways that politicians keep wars going while they give superficial nods to voters' frustration and anger. Those kinds of rhetorical maneuvers went on for the last several years of the war in Vietnam, while the death toll mounted at the same time that polls showed most Americans had turned against the war. These days, Hillary Clinton must be very appreciative that MoveOn is helping her to finesse the war in Iraq while she continues to support it.
But, say, people, at least Hillary Clinton will be better on domestic issues than Bush. I wonder how true that really is. Medea Benjamin, who went with the "Anybody But Bush" line and cast her support to Kerry in 2004, describes how Clinton thwarted efforts of anti-war activists to be heard at a "take back America" conference, at which CODEPINK was a registered participant organization with a table and an pre-conference agreement with the organizers. Despite this, they were turned away at the door.
A few CODEPINK women did manage to get inside the breakfast, however, as they were legitimate ticket holders. Once inside, the CODEPINK women soon realized that they had been deceived about the second part of the agreement: They would not be allowed to ask the first question, or any question, because Hillary Clinton would not be fielding questions from the audience. “We were really upset that we had been lied to by Take Back America, and that there would be no space at this ‘progressive conference’ to have a dialogue with Hillary Clinton about the most critical issue of our time—the war in Iraq,” said Katie Heald, DC coordinator for CODEPINK. “We got up on our chairs holding up our hands with the peace sign, and were pulled down from the chairs. We tried to take out our banner that said “Listen Hillary: Stop Supporting the War” and it was grabbed from us. And when Hillary started talking about her Iraq strategy, criticizing Bush but not posing a solution, we shouted ‘What are YOU going to do to get us out of Iraq,’ but she ignored us.”
If anything, the complete blackout of anti-war candidates and voices from this year's political races is even worse than it was in 2004, and that may just be because the public's position has shifted so dramatically against the war that the Democrats are running scared, not just from the Republican machine, but from the true wishes of the majority of Americans.